We have reached the end of Marvel’s Rogue One adaptation. The Battle of Scarif has reached fever pitch, while our band of spies reaches the completion of their mission. The Empire is throwing everything they can muster against the assault by the Rebel Alliance. Will it be enough? Assuming you have seen the film you already know the answer. If you have not, be aware there are SPOILERS ahead…
Wow…this is a gorgeous issue. The team working on this certainly saved the best for last. That’s not to say preceding issues before have lacked anything. This one just goes out with such a bang. The ending moves just as fast, if not faster, than the ending we saw on film. The frames of fighting made me take notice at how fierce the fighting was in the last minutes of Rogue One. That’s not something I necessarily missed in the film, it just seemed to be underscored in each frame. There’s a real sense of desperation the artwork conveyed.
It wouldn’t be Rogue One without the death scenes. Upon my first viewing of Rogue One–in a crowded neighborhood theater with a blizzard raging outside, packed in with a bunch of kids who’d been cooped up all day due to the nasty weather–the death scenes did not hit me as hard as they did in later viewings. I was too busy cheering along, feeling like a kid again myself, to slow down and take notice at how profoundly self-sacrificing these characters journeys were. If you didn’t feel the emotional weight of each death scene I think this issue will remind you how the heroes journey does not always end with a ride into the sunset. These heroes didn’t go into Scarif expecting not to return, but once that truth was evident, they threw themselves into the line of fire to protect a galaxy they new could rise up and defeat the evil that shadowed it.
Even Krennic gets a moment in the macabre spotlight as he looks head on into the industrial nightmare of his doom. It makes me wonder if Krennic had one final moment of humanity. Perhaps the reality of how horrible the Empire’s creation was hit him as he stared into the sky to see it powering up to destroy him. This frame really exposes Krennic for the pitiful, Imperial stooge that he was. If you haven’t read Catalyst by James Luceno (it’s excellent, be sure to check it out if you want more Rogue One), it details Krennic’s rise through the ranks of the Empire and his exploitation of Galen Erso’s genius in the years during the initial construction of the Death Star. Krennic is a despicable figure, and the worst part of his malice is that it’s all a game of numbers and greedy ambition. Krennic doesn’t care if his creation wipes out billions of lives, as long as he gets his kudos from the Emperor. A fitting death for a pathetic individual.
Upon a subsequent viewing of Rogue One, where I could really take everything in without being swept up in the childhood nostalgia of it all, this moment got me choked up. I’m not saying this to sound macho or anything, but I’m not much of a cryer. This scene definitely hit me. This moment sums up everything great about Rogue One and how the Rebel Alliance amplifies everything heroic about good. These two people have been fighting their whole lives against the Empire. They’ve seen every horror in the galaxy that the Empire has laid down. Yet, at the end, they managed to do something they know will turn the tide against evil. In the last moments of their life, they feel the good and the hope surfacing. Jyn and Cassian die in each other’s arms, accepting that their role in this fight is over, but that the battle was won, and the Rebel Alliance would live to fight many more.
Well, of course they didn’t skip this moment. It’s just as terrifying and frantic as it was on screen. Vader is a little more shrouded by the dark in these frames, which I think plays well in ink. The scene plays out nearly identical, with the horrified Tantive IV crew members passing off the Death Star plans as they are cut down by Vader’s crimson saber. As much as I insinuate in these reviews that the Star Wars Universe may be approaching “Vader-saturation”, his iconic silhouette is certainly effective in scenes like this.
I have to say, as much as I admire what Lucasfilm was trying to do with Leia’s cameo, I feel this approach would be more effective. I don’t dislike the full-Leia reveal in the last moments of Rogue One, but I think something more subtle like this would have been just as cool for fans. That’s just my opinion, but this is as much of Leia’s face as you see in the adaptation. One of the little differences I think the adaptation handled better, and again, I respect the work of ILM, just saying this is my preference. I’m not a CGI hater ;).
The team that handled this adaptation did an incredible job. I’m usually not too impressed by comic adaptations of films, but every issue of this adaptation made me smile. Writer Jody Houser, artists Emilio Laiso and Rachelle Rosenberg (colorist), managed to capture the essence of Rogue One and also make it feel like I was experiencing the story for the first time. If Marvel is listening, please get this team to handle future adaptations of Star Wars films. I’ve praised them each issue and I’m not about to stop now. Great work, team!
If you are a fan of Rogue One and you enjoy comics I can’t see a reason in the world why you should not pick this up. The complete collection of these will be released December 19th and I strongly urge you to pick this up. Marvel and the team they put on this skimped on nothing. It’s respectful to the story and it will only make you love the film more. For those of you who weren’t so thrilled with Rogue One, I also urge you to take a look at the adaptation. It may convince you that this is not only a great Star Wars story, but it certainly deserves it’s place in the canon.
9 OUT OF 10 STARS
Oh, and the last page of this issue was brilliant. I know they couldn’t have done this in the film, but I loved that they included it in the comic. I’ll leave you with it and happy reading, Rogue One fans.